Monday, October 6, 2014


OPEN WINDOWS is a film which is very much a product of the times we live in. It exists only because of this world’s fascination with social media, celebrity, and the easy access of electronic information. It is wrapped up tightly in the ribbons and bows of the 21st century; a wrapping which is enough to keep its troubled storytelling active.
Nick (Elijah Wood), is a webmaster for a fan-site honoring actress Jill (Sasha Grey), who has won a dinner-date with her via an online contest. When the dinner is suddenly cancelled, Nick’s laptop is hacked by a mysterious stranger, who gives him secret access to all of Jill’s personal devices…and plays a deadly game of manipulation with the both of them.

OPEN WINDOWS starts off simply enough; an evil person playing God by manipulating two strangers like puppets on a string. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but in the case of OPEN WINDOWS, the real selling point is the presentation. Taking the now-tired found-footage technique to the next logical level, the entire film is viewed through a laptop, cell-phone, or tablet-like device. It’s a clever enough approach, and the creative ways director Nacho Vigalondo and his team comes up with to present the film makes for a fascinating watch.
Unfortunately for OPEN WINDOWS, the novelty of the approach wears off after a while. The limits of technology are pushed beyond the realm of believability, and the film goes from a “wow” to a “yeah right”. After a while it becomes clear that Vigalondo isn’t interested in making a grand statement about over-reliance on technology or being obsessed with celebrities, but is instead focused on just showing off. Characters are one-note but still effective, but OPEN WINDOWS loses all its traction by eventually piling on way too much plot. Many sub-plots involving Jill’s love affair, a team of rebel-hackers, and the identity of the manipulating stranger come into the fold and wind up being either hard to follow or not relevant enough to make a splash.

Acting is very good. Elijah Wood has lost none of his boyish charm and yet maintains a very adult and mature demeanor. His character isn’t given a lot of room to stretch, but everything he is asked to do is handled perfectly. The real surprise of the film is former adult-film actress Sasha Grey, who gets to display a wide range of emotions and nails it.
The finale of OPEN WINDOWS is an odd one, and will undoubtedly leave viewers scratching their heads…it’s a wrap which should have been a lot simpler and speaks towards the convoluted and over-complicated script. OPEN WINDOWS is slick and clever and neat to look at for exactly one-half of its life.


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